Friday 27 November 2009

Leek and nasturtium soup

I have only recently got back from a trip to Morocco (watch out for some "self-sufficient" Moroccan style cookery ideas coming up!) and paid a visit to the allotment. I found that the leaks are coming on well but much to my astonishment, the nasturtiums are still growing. I decided it was time to use more nasturtium leaves. So last night, we had leak and nasturtium soup. Here's my recipe:

Pan of homemade vegetable stock
3 leaks
handfull of nasturtium leaves
3 small onions
a teaspoon full of 45 spice (one I brought back from Morocco)
teaspoon of salt

Chop the leaves and vegetables and add to the stock. Add in the spice and sald and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 25 min.

Very easy.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Marrow chutney

marrows Nov 09

The supply of marrows from the allotment seems to have been unending. We discovered another giant marrow over the weekend. So after some research we have decided that the best way to use up what’s left of them is to make marrow chutney. And the advantage is that it helps us to us the vast sackloads of apples we picked wild in August.

However, when we had a stall at a local fayre in the summer, many people asked us if we had hot and spicey chutneys. As we didn’t have anything like that, now is the time to fill that gap in our chutney armoury.

So here is our chutney recipe:

1.2kg apples, peeled and cored
1.2kg marrow peeled
800g onions
Teaspoon mixed spice
Teaspoon cinnamon powder
Tablespoon crushed black peppercorns
800ml white wine vinegar
800g sugar

marrow chutney Nov 09 no 1

Chop the apples and marrow and onions. Add all the contents to the jam pan. At this point, if you want it hot, add in chopped dried chillies.

Bring to boil and leave to simmer for about 2 hours, until most of the liquid has gone. Then add to hot, sterilised jars.

marrow chutney Nov 09 no 2

This chutney can be kept for up to a year.

marrow chutney Nov 09 no 3

Sunday 15 November 2009

Our only pumpkin

pumpkin Nov 09

We will have to look again at how we grow pumpkins. We had one (see picture above) and it was not anything spectacular. A second one did grow but it was on the restaurant menu for the slugs. It is possible that we planted them too late.
We put the pumpkin we did get into a chutney with marrow. The recipe will be posted shortly.

Friday 13 November 2009

Careful how you store sweet chestnuts

sweet chestnuts Oct 09

See the photo above – some of the sweet chestnuts I picked wild in September. They had been stored in a plastic box. Not such a grand idea. See the mould growing on them. Fortunately we discovered it in time. All saved but it could have been a disaster, especially as the sweet chestnuts are a key ingredient of the main course of our self-sufficient Xmas dinner I am planning.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Nut loaf

nut loaf Oct 09

I experimented recently with making a nut loaf. The aim is to create the centre of the main course of our self-sufficient Xmas dinner. As many of the ingredients as possible are to be picked wild or grown on the allotment as possible. Anyway, here is the recipe I came up with:

20 large sweet chestnuts
100g shelled hazel nuts
2 eggs
2 onions
One small stale loaf of brown bread
150g mushrooms
Teaspoon of 5 spice
Ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
450g kidney beans (in the final version for Xmas I will be using broad beans from the allotment)

Start by boiling the chestnuts for about 5 minutes. Then peel and chop them.
Chop the onions, hazel nuts and mushrooms and mash the beans.

Turn the loaf into breadcrumbs.

Add all the ingredients together and mix. The eggs and oil will help to bind it all together. Put the mixture into a baking tin and put in a preheated over at 200C for half an hour.

It can be eaten hot or cold.


sweetcorn Oct 09

Our crop of sweetcorn was a moderate success. It was the first time we had grown it and it occupied a corner on bed 4, one of the new beds we had opened this year. One important learning point however: don’t leave them too long on the allotment. Two of the best made fantastic feasts for the local mice.

At the moment the sweetcorn are in the freezer though we each had one for dinner the other night. Very nice!

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Apple and cinnamon jelly

apple cinnamon jelly Oct 09

We are still using up our vast supply of apples picked in the summer. We have bottled a large quantity and that left us with a pile of cores and peel. Instead of wasting it, I made it into a seasonal spiced jelly. This is what I did:

Add the cores and peel to a jam pan and entirely cover with water.

Bring to boil and simmer for a 2 hours.

Strain overnight and then measure the liquid.

Add the liquid to the jam pan and add in cinnamon powder, or cinnamon sticks. The amount is up to you but I put in a good dose.

Bring to boil and then add in the sugar - 1KG for every litre of liquid.

Keep simmering until the setting point is reached. Remove any cinnamon sticks and add the liquid to hot sterilised jars.

So, a useful way to use up a waste product. You can feed the boiled pulp to livestock or put into the compost bin.